Today’s consumers expect consistency across channels, whether they are shopping from a physical store or an online platform. Providing clients with a seamless experience is a complex process. Organizations need to ensure that they synchronize correct customer data across all channels, interact with innumerable suppliers, and maintain an impeccable inventory management. The handling of humongous amounts of data has given rise to master data management (MDM), as there is no single system that can maintain the magnitude of data organizations have begun to make.
The Need for Master Data Management in Cloud
Cloud computing is not something new to businesses. Over the past few years, the cloud has clearly shown an enormous impact on business growth, efficiency, agility, and cost. This has enabled many CIOs to consider cloud an important aspect of their IT strategy. As a result, enterprise architects and data management leaders increasingly ask about the impact of cloud on their current and planned master data management (MDM) investments. If you are on your MDM journey and at the crossroads to decide whether cloud MDM is the one for your organization, here are few benefits which enable you to deliver your operational data to where it can drive superior business outcomes quickly and effectively.
1. Offers flexibility & flattened costs- the potential business outcomes deriving from implementing a master data management solution are indisputable, but up-front costs for on-premise MDM can be substantial enough for some businesses to think twice before moving forward. Flexible subscription options take the hassle out of purchasing managed services because they allow you to use the software as your business requires. It enables you to discover, create and manage relationships with critical business data.
2. Allows quick implementation & scalability- Cloud-based MDM seamlessly integrates into the existing setup and allows upscaling or downscaling of storage and processing capabilities as well as software licensing limits. Combined with the eliminated need for on-premise server installations, this delivers operational agility in deploying the technology.
3. Ensures higher security- Security risks related to the cloud have often spurred reluctance to store sensitive proprietary data outside company firewalls. However, cloud-based MDM solutions make use of renowned cloud service providers such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon. These providers have deployed the best resources around to make security their number one priority – more than most companies can afford to do on their own. Rather than holding back cloud initiatives with unsubstantiated worries about security, businesses need to make sure they define a cloud strategy that helps their security teams understand how to manage the technology without compromising data security.
Businesses are required to constantly innovate in order to stay competitive. And business insights are necessary to fuel all key digital transformation initiatives—whether you’re looking to boost customer experience, enhance operational efficiency, implement advanced analytics, or improve governance and compliance. A master data strategy helps to create trusted data for organizations to use. It ties all your systems and information together into a single source of truth for your data-driven digital transformation. It enables organizations to maximize data to generate the greatest business impact. However, often organizations fail because of their immature implementations. For an MDM to be strategic it is required to address these capabilities:
1. End-to-end capabilities- A comprehensive cloud-based solution will make users more efficient by enabling them to master a single tool and use all capabilities together seamlessly, so they can focus on deriving business value from MDM. Here are a few tools that a comprehensive integrated solution must include:
- Data Catalog- Data is scattered across different departments, applications, and data warehouses both on premises and in the cloud. Therefore, a cloud-based MDM solution should be able to collate all that data with the help of technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning.
- Data Quality- Data quality ensures that all the data is complete and consistent. Where possible, the system should automatically check for incomplete or invalid entries, automatically resolve conflicts, and add missing information using third-party sources. Machine learning can help augment human stewardship of quality by automatically tuning match rules to increase accuracy and confidence levels.
- Data Integration- When one is aware about the location of data and what data one has. It is important to bring that into a single place. Data integration capabilities allows to integrate all the disparate data sources in real time.
2. Data Governance and Stewardship- Cloud master data management must enable you to define and enforce policies and procedures regarding activities such as data collection, quality, protection, access, use, and retention. Without governance and stewardship, MDM reduces business value and increases business risk. This is an area that immature cloud solutions often overlook.
3. Reinforce Phased Implementation- Organizations rarely move to a full end-to-end MDM implementation all at once. The best practice is for implementation to follow a phased approach, starting with simpler use cases and working up to the more complex and powerful instances. Your cloud-based MDM solution should support all these phases, so you can move through each phase seamlessly as your requirements change and grow without having to replace your MDM platform. These phases include: registry, consolidated, centralized, co-existed.
4. Architectural Flexibility- To provide the agility and flexibility modern organizations require, the cloud-based MDM solution must reside on a modern architecture. For an architecture to be modern it should include characteristics like scalability, modularity, portability etc.
How Will You Choose the Right MDM for Your Journey?
This blog covers some valid points to consider when selecting your MDM partner and the required capabilities for a cloud-based MDM. However, do not miss out for other valid points such as financial stability of the vendor, track record, time to value, and return on investment. It is advisable to do thorough research before you jump to any conclusions.
Want to learn more about how to implement an MDM at your organization? Read our eBook on How to Close MDM Implementation in 6-9 Months to gain more insights.